Archive for the ‘Tyler Clippard’ Category
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Jordan Zimmermann allowed seven hits over just seven innings to notch his league leading sixth win of the season, and Bryce Harper hit his tenth home run of the year, as Washington downed a potent Detroit team 3-1 at Nationals Park On Wednesday night.
Zimmermann was spectacular. “Jordan is fun to watch. He attacks guys. I think this year, he’s just smarter, more mature,” Tyler Clippard said of the Nats’ ace following the victory. “This year, more than any other year, he is throwing a lot more breaking balls for strikes.”
Zimmermann entered the game having pitched 17 shutout innings in his previous two starts, putting himself into the top ten in every major N.L. pitching category. The only time the Tigers were able to put together good at-bats against him was in the 3rd inning, when Torii Hunter doubled and Miguel Cabrera singled him home.
Nationals’ hitters, meanwhile, pumped out three runs against Tigers’ starter Anibal Sanchez. Denard Span tripled off of Sanchez and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Harper in the bottom of the 3rd, Adam LaRoche scored in the 4th on a throwing error from Torii Hunter and Bryce Harper slammed a 427 foot home run to complete the scoring in the 5th.
Tyler Clippard came on in relief in the 8th inning and recorded his fifth hold, while closer Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth and recorded his 11th save. Washington has won three consecutive games and is now 18-15 on the year. The Nationals trail the Atlanta Braves, who won decisively in Cincinnati, by just two games in the National League East.
The Wisdom of Section 129 The PNC Seats: This was a rare opportunity, and a kind of betrayal. The CFG crew (here we are, in case you’ve forgotten) abandoned our regulars in Section 129 for a chance to sit in the PNC seats and “eat for free” — as it were. So we expected to be surrounded by Nationals fans. We should have known better . . .
The Tigers travel well, as was much in evidence at Nationals Park last night, and they were there in force in the PNC section. Tigers’ fans packed the third base boxes and were sprinkled throughout the ballpark, with Miguel Cabrera jerseys (#24) as much in evidence as Bryce Harper’s . . .
Sunday, May 5th, 2013
To hear the experts on “Baseball Tonight” talk about it (Rick Sutcliffe, Nomar Garciaparra et. al.), you’d think that Washington starter Stephen Strasburg struggled through Saturday’s start in Pittsburgh (in which the Nationals rallied to notch a 5-4 victory), and was lucky to get out the game alive.
But that’s not the way that Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson saw it: “I thought he was throwing well. The way he started the ballgame, he was going after them, making good pitches,” Johnson said after the Nationals’ win. “He made a couple of mistakes, right on the heart of the plate. You can’t do that. He held us in there and did a good job.”
True enough, Washington’s celebrated ace “made a couple of mistakes” (a home run to Starling Marte in the 3rd, and to Clint Barmes in the 5th), but he also threw 65 strikes and lasted seven innings — long enough so that Ryan Zimmerman could lead a double steal and score on a Tyler Moore sacrifice fly in the 9th inning to clinch the Nationals’ one run victory.
The Nationals’ win was a just-hang-in-there, grind-it-out kind of triumph. coming after a disheartening so-so start to the season. It was exactly what the team needed. The Nationals fell behind early, rallied to tie it at four apiece, then literally stole the game in the 9th, when Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche engineered a heads-up double steal that took the Pittsburgh defense by surprise.
Then, with Zimmerman on third and LaRoche on second, Tyler Moore short-stroked a fly ball to Pirate Travis Snider, which brought the winning run home. Moore’s hit was a vindication for the young slugger, who’d struck out twice in his previous at bats, leaving the bases jammed both times. “Just to come through at the end was huge. I battled it out for the team,” Moore said of his 9th inning heroic.
Tyler Clippard picked up his second win of the season by pitching a scoreless eighth inning, while Rafael Soriano was credited with his 10th save. The Nationals banged out only six hits in the win, leaving an astonishing 21 runners on base. Still, a victory is a victory: “Well, we got a few more guys on base,” Davey Johnson said in the clubhouse afterwards. “We didn’t get many in — but it’s a start.”
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The big news of the day (outside of the win) was a team meeting that Davey Johnson had prior to the game. “So, just trying to clear the air, make it simpler,” was the way Johnson later described the confab. “Let’s keep having fun. We are here to do things that we are capable of doing. It was that kind of a meeting . . .”
The Johnson meeting had an immediate impact, as did his decision to take some batting practice with the players before the game. He took about 40 swings, but the lesson wasn’t lost on his team — nor were his comments afterwards: “I wanted to see if it was that hard to hit a baseball,” he joked . . .
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Stephen Strasburg outpitched Atlanta’s Julio Teheran and the Nats’ lineup outhit the Braves (ten hits to seven), but Washington couldn’t find a way to win — and went down to defeat at Turner Field 3-2 on Monday night. The Atlanta victory snapped their four game losing streak, while Washington has yet to find a way to consistently defeat their divisional rival.
While Strasburg was once again not at his best, he kept Washington in the game, throwing six innings of six hit baseball while striking out eight. Strasburg is now 1-4 with a 3.13 ERA, and has not won since opening day. Worse yet, the Washington ace reported that he’s some forearm stiffness.
Davey Johnson noticed that “something was off” in the way that Strasburg was pitching, and in post-game remarks told the press that “I’m sure they’re going to put him on some medication.” No matter: Strasburg is obviously anxious to keep throwing. “I’m not missing my next start,” he said after the game. “I’ll tell you that right now.”
The difference in the game came in the bottom of the 7th inning. Tyler Clippard was brought on in relief of Strasburg and walked the first batter, Gerald Laird, who was then sacrificed to second. Jordan Shafer then punched a single to right field and stole second. Atlanta’s third run then crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Andrelton Simmons.
Washington’s hitters, meanwhile, had a good bead on Teheran, but couldn’t push across the runs to give the Nats a victory. The Nationals were 2-9 with runners in scoring position. Strasburg got a no-decision in the game, with Tyler Clippard taking the loss.
The Nationals continue their series in Atlanta tomorrow night, with Gio Gonzalez on the mound for the home towners. He will face off against savvy righty, Tim Hudson.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Nationals know they have to find a way to beat the Braves, but we’re stumped as to how they’ll do it. Nats’ hitters beat up Teheran tonight, just as they did in his last outing, but it didn’t seem to matter. Atlanta has now won eight in a row against Washington, dating back to last year . . .
Back on April 12, the Nationals forced Teheranto the pine after six innings, plating four earned runs and six hits in two innings — but ended up losing the game in extra innings, 6-4. You have to wonder if maybe the Nationals are snake-bit against the Bravos, despite finishing last season four games ahead of them . . .
Sunday, April 28th, 2013
Denard Span’s gazelle-like defensive abilities were on full display at Nationals Park on Saturday, as the Nats’ new centerfielder robbed Joey Votto of a potential home run with a leaping catch in the sixth inning and then, in the seventh, tracked down a line shot off the bat of Zack Cozart.
Span’s acrobatics preserved a 6-3 victory and propelled Nats’ starter Dan Haren to his second win of the season. For Nats’ fans, Span’s saving catch against Votto was the day’s most impressive play. “I’m not sure if the ball would have went over,” Span said after the Nats secured their victory. “But I was prepared to bring it back if it did go out.”
The Washington win was their third in a row and brought the Nationals to within 2.5 games of fading Atlanta in the National League East. The Washington victory was solidified by another hot day at the plate from Washington’s offense: Bryce Harper hammered his ninth home run of April, while both Span and Jayson Werth had two hits each.
While Span and Harper were the day’s story, the Nationals and skipper Davey Johnson breathed a sigh of relief that starter Dan Haren pitched like the Dan Haren of old. The veteran righty had his best outing of the year, throwing six innings and striking out five.
“It sucks it’s taken so long to have a good outing, but I finally feel like part of the team,” Haren said after the victory. “I’ve got to be like this or better the rest of the year. There’s no excuse for me not to be. I’m happy with the way it went. I’m not going to get too overblown about it. It’s just one start. I think I’ve been throwing the ball a little bit better as the year’s gone on.”
“That was more like him. He’s still throwing with velocity, but he just changes speeds, moves the ball around, pitches,” Nats’ skipper Davey Johnson said of Haren’s solid outing.
Sunday, April 14th, 2013
The Washington Nationals are a good baseball team, and perhaps even a great baseball team. They are 7-4, have swept two separate series (including an interleague series against the White Sox), play well at home (where they are 6-2), and are in second place in the National League East.
But so far in this young season the Nationals have failed to win the big games against their toughest competition. They were outscored by the Redlegs (27-10), and their bullpen has collapsed again and again — most recently on Friday, in a game they should have won against the Braves — and their star third baseman has made a number of unforced errors, calling into question the health of his shoulder.
“We need to do better,” Tyler Clippard said of the pen after Friday’s late inning 6-4 loss. But stating the obvious isn’t likely to quiet the fears that the bullpen is righty heavy — that the Nationals are missing a key left hander who could make a difference. “The Nationals miss Sean Burnett,” Mitch Williams said on MLB Network on Saturday. “They need another lefty out of the pen.”
The one counter-argument is that today, in their 3-1 loss to the Braves, a great bullpen would not have made the difference. Even with Stephen Strasburg on the mound, the Nationals couldn’t get a bead on Braves’ starter Tim Hudson, who gave up just four hits in suffocating a suddenly anemic Nats’ offense.
Is there a lesson in all of this? Today’s game might seem to point the way: Ryan Zimmerman committed another throwing error, reliever Ryan Mattheus gave up an unnecessary insurance run to Atlanta in the top of the 9th — and the Nationals couldn’t score when they needed to.
Glass-half-empty fans will say (and have been saying) that it’s time for the Nationals to start solving their problems: it’s time to begin the long transition of shifting Ryan Zimmerman to first, it’s time to go out and trade for a lefty out of the pen — and it’s time to make some tough but necessary decisions on relievers (like Henry Rodriguez) who aren’t producing.
But glass-half-full fans will look at the season and decide what Davey Johnson has decided: it’s way too early to worry. “We’re gonna be fine,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said in the wake of today’s loss. His team seems to agree. Adam LaRoche dismissed concerns about Zimmerman’s shoulder (“He’s one of the best defenders out there”), and Johnson shrugs when asked about his pen, saying that Friday’s loss was his fault.
Then too, there’s this. Tim Hudson is a savvy and solid pitcher, as he proved today. Stephen Strasburg pitched well, the Zimmerman error was not the difference in the game, Rodriguez looked good — and the best bullpen in the world couldn’t have and wouldn’t have won that game. The Nats didn’t throw away today’s game, the Braves won it. And the difference was Tim Hudson.
“He doesn’t throw quite as hard as he used to, but he knows how to pitch,” Zimmerman said of the Atlanta righty. “You don’t do what he’s done in this game for as long as he has without having a really good idea of what to do out there . . . . he’s one of the best guys out there, and he usually does well against us. Like I said, if you don’t get him early, it’s tough.”
Friday, April 12th, 2013
Here’s the message from last night’s game: don’t piss off Ryan Zimmerman. After White Sox pitcher Dylan Axelrod intentionally walked Bryce Harper in the 4th inning (preferring to pitch to Zimmerman), the clearly irritated Washington third sacker stroked a line drive down the right field line, scoring two and putting Washington in the lead.
The Nats went on to win the third game of their three game set against the Comiskeys, 7-4. The victory marked a sweep of their interleague series with the South Siders and was the first sweep notched by the Nationals this year.
Zimmerman went 2-3 on the night, accounting for two RBIs. “Well, I think Harper is hot. You are just rolling the dice either way. You just take your chance and he got him,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said of the move.
Washington righty Dan Haren started the game and didn’t pitch well, but he pitched well enough to win. Haren gave up ten hits and three runs to the Chicagoans, but he came up with his first win in pitching five innings. It was a step forward for Washington’s new fifth starter, who had been hit hard in his first outing.
“I took a few steps forward,” Haren said of his performance after Washington’s victory. “I think I threw the ball better than the line score would dictate. The conditions weren’t great out there. The most important thing is we won the game. Obviously, I was a little better than last time.”
In addition to Zimmerman, Washington’s attack was led by Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper, who each had two hits. Zimmerman and Harper accounted for four of Washington’s seven runs. While Haren was struggling through his five innings, the Nats were teeing off on Axelrod, who was knocked out in the fourth after giving up seven hits and six runs.
In addition to victimizing White Sox pitchers for ten hits, the Nationals turned in their best bullpen performance of the year. Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano held Chicago hitters to a single run and three hits in four innings of work. Soriano notched his fifth save.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines:
If you attend a Nationals game, drive home and then just noodle around doing nothing — well, you never know what you’re going to miss. Last night, at about 12:10 am Washington time, MLB network tuned into the Los Angeles-San Diego tilt at Petco, and what a scene it was . . .
In the bottom of the 6th inning, Carlos Quentin came to the plate for the Friars and, on a 3-2 count, was hit in the left arm by a Zack Greinke fastball. Quentin dropped his bat, then hesitated — but it appeared that Greinke said something to him (“take it,” is how we read it) and Quentin charged the mound. It’s really worth watching, and here’s the video . . .
Saturday, October 13th, 2012
The Nationals couldn’t hold a six run lead, then couldn’t hold a three run lead, then couldn’t hold a two run lead, and then usually steady closer Drew Storen gave up four runs in the 9th inning, and the Washington Nationals lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, 9-7 to close out their 2012 campaign. This was the toughest of tough losses. “Devastating,” is how reliever Tyler Clippard described it. And it was.
In fact, this is one that the Nationals will long remember as a game that they could have and should have won: they were one strike away from going to the National League Championship Series, twice. But they couldn’t put away the St. Louis Cardinals, who will now go on to face the San Francisco Giants in a seven game playoff for the right to play in the World Series.
The 9th inning of Friday night’s game is likely to be remembered for a long time: for its agony. Storen entered the game with a 7-5 lead, but immediately gave up a double to Redbird slugger Carlos Beltran. Still, Storen seemed on his game. Matt Holliday grounded out and Allen Craig struck out swinging. There were two outs in the inning.
But then things fell apart. Storen walked Yadier Molina and David Freese. For Nationals fans, those 45,000-plus who packed Nationals Park, it looked suspiciously like the strike zone had suddenly shrunk. But Storen’s pitches, while close, were just nipping the corners and could have been called either way. They were called balls.
With the bases loaded, Daniel Descalso singled, bringing Beltran and pinch runner Adron Chambers home. The score was locked at seven. Davey Johnson then decided that Storen should pitch to Peter Kozma, who laced a single into right field, scoring another two runs. And that was the game.